John Elway: QB remark wasn't negative

Updated: November 29, 2011, 2:46 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Hall of Fame quarterback and Broncos executive John Elway is "surprised" that people took his Nov. 21 comments about quarterback Tim Tebow so negatively.

One week ago, Denver's executive vice president of football operations said "No" when asked on 102.3 FM The Ticket in Denver if he felt he was any closer to finding the Broncos' quarterback of the future.

[+] EnlargeJohn Elway
AP Photo/Barry GutierrezAccording to NFL.com, John Elway tried to clarify his week-old comments about quarterback Tim Tebow on a weekly radio spot in Denver.

"I was surprised in the fact that people took it to be a negative answer and it really wasn't a negative answer," Elway said Monday on the same show, according to NFL.com. "That's where I was taken aback. It wasn't meant to be a strike at Timmy at all.

"It was just a reality check of where we were at the time, and it wasn't a negative because I tried to follow it up with all the positive things we were doing and tried to point out some things we needed to get better at."

According to NFL.com, Elway told the radio station Monday the issue stems from poor communication on his part.

"I was disappointed, and obviously I need to do a better job communicating that message, because the way it was taken was taken more negative than obviously I really meant it to be," Elway said. "So that's just one of those situations, and it's something I'll learn from also."

Elway's most recent comments came one day after the Broncos' fourth straight win, all under the cool hand of Tebow and the spread option installed by coach John Fox to match his quarterback's unique skillset.

While Tebow's numbers haven't been pretty, Sunday's win was the third fourth-quarter comeback generated by the former Heisman Trophy winner this season. It was also the most statistically impressive, perhaps indicating the improvement Elway noted when told 102.3 FM a week ago that Tebow had to do better on third downs and improve as a passer.

For the first time all season, Tebow completed at least half of his passes Sunday, going 9 for 18 for 188 yards in Denver's 16-13 overtime win at San Diego, and he had strikes of 39 yards to Eric Decker and 23 to Dante Rosario on the game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.

"He's getting better as a passer right before our eyes," analyst Steve Mariucci said on the NFL Network. "This is such a fun story because it's so unique. We haven't seen this before. Of all of the option quarterbacks that have come into the league, they move them to receiver, or you play Wildcat, or you go play defense. Here is a team that's playing option football -- you've got to be kidding me -- and the kid is winning games."

Tebow's 188 yards passing against the Chargers were a season-best.

"He's getting a better feel," Fox told The Associated Press on Monday. "And like the old adage, the more you do it, the better you get. I think (quarterbacks coach) Adam Gase and (offensive coordinator) Mike McCoy have done a terrific job with him before practice, after practice and he's done a terrific job of being willing to do the extra work. That's part of being a pro, and he's proved to be a good one."

Decker said Tebow's strides are most evident in his decisions.

"I think he's only got one interception this year and it's a credit to him for not forcing a bad ball or doing something stupid," Decker said to The AP. "Because punting the ball's not a bad thing, either. The way our defense is playing right now, why not get them inside the 20 and let our defense go to work?"

On Sunday, Tebow also carried 22 times for 67 yards -- the most carries by a quarterback in a game since at least 1950, according to STATS LLC. But Tebow says it is more than the option that fuels Denver's offense.

"It's not necessarily all option." Tebow told The AP. "Yes, we put it in and teams have to be honest and play the gap some, but I think it's a variety of things. It's great coaching and it's keeping the defense off balance. Whether it's option, whether it's zone read, whether it's unbalance, whether it's play action. I think a defense has to prepare for a lot of different looks and you have to credit our coaches for that."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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